Thursdays with Lucy – “It’s normal”

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If someone has read “Tuesdays with Morrie”, they know how I got the idea of this series of blog. Unlike Mitch Albom, I am not paying visits to any person anywhere and nobody is sick like Morrie. This is my idea to group my articles, which originated based on some discussion with someone, especially those where I ended up on the contra side and both the parties cannot fathom how the other person is not on their side. I can tell you that it happens way more often that I would like it. This is me, who happily enters a discussion to create new side. I do not have special liking to Thursdays. It just happened that I got this idea on a beautiful Thursday, when I was a discussion with one of my friend. To keep anonymity of the people, everyone gets tagged as Lucy. Now when I writing, I think I need to add somewhere a disclaimer,” All the viewpoints and opinions written here are author’s personal thoughts and observations and has not relation, implications towards a certain gender or race”. You know, just to be on the safe side from all the regulations floating around.

Ok, now we have the base of the new series settled, lets move on with the actual story. I just finished a very interesting training with kids. It was special as for the first time a sports school visited to have a common training at our place. The trainer had been in contact with me for about a year now. Finally we managed to find a good time, logistics, hall etc. to arrange it. The kids were happy just to see the hall. It was a bit hard training for them and they did not want to stay bit long to play a little bit. We hope to make it happen again. Anyways, after this training, I was travelling back with my friend, Lucy. While moving from topic to topic at one moment I mentioned that some youngster comes back home at 6 in the morning. Lucy asked me, how old is the kid. I said , the kid is 18 years old. To my surprise, I got the reply, ” Of, then it is normal!”. I could not understand what is normal here? What is the definition of the normal? How do we reach this conclusion? And what does it mean if we accept that it is normal?. With all the variety of questions in my mind, I asked what do you mean? She said that it is the age and the kid is now 18+ and is responsible for his/herself. This is how we reached that defining moment of the series, where I cannot understand this “normal” while Lucy is thinking what is there to understand, as to her it seemed like as normal as breathing.

We left the discussion there for 2 main reasons. Onc that it seemed that it won’t reach anywhere, atleast not so quickly. Second and probably the main reason that the ride came to end. I think it was a good that it came to an end, otherwise I would have been left aside somewhere by the roadside. If someone has ever read my blogs, they would know that I have the habit of relating strange topics with each other. Maybe they do not make sense all the times. But that could simply be the gap in my way of explaining it and reader’s own biases towards a topic. In this case I could connect that “normal” and especially its acceptance to the extent that it seems like breathing for which there is no need to do anything.

I have heard the argument of age in a lot of scenarios. This is one of such scenarios, where age is given a reason to knock it off as “normal” behavior of kids of that age. It gets aggravated with addition of 18+ as that change in number from 17 to 18 suddenly make them responsible. But, why do we do so? I see that when babies are small, they are treated as “oh it is just a baby, they are just cute”. Till the age of 12, they remain small kids. Everybody would knock any of their act by saying, “oh come on, they are just kids. It will go away”. Then comes “teenage” years. The most popular excuse for any mis-behaviour. Every parent or senior will just say, “oh teenagers, what can you do! It is the phase”. For last 2 teenage years, they get special permit also, as they are 18+! Then if there is any misbehaviour or act, then parents/adults would say, ” What can you do, they are 18+. (s)he is not child anymore to teach. They are now responsible for themselves!”. I mean a kid went through 18 years of his/her life in extra care, support and no lessons on consequences, no lessons on responsibility has suddenly become responsible?

What does responsibility means? Responsible enough to vote and select the new government? Do we trust kids who spent most of the nights out in parties, clubs, drinking, smoking etc. for that kind of responsibility? How many of them are responsible for their finances? Are they responsible to earn their own money to spend around? Are they responsible to manage their own food or just get money from parents and spend it in restaurants or take-aways and home deliveries? What responsibility does these kids were handed over at 18? To manage households, to help family in the day-to-day life, to take responsibility of their younger brothers or sisters, to think and plan for their future as they are now “responsible”? As far was I am aware, the world is moving towards “my rights”. We have human-rights, animal-rights, person-rights, social-rights. Kids grew up learning about their rights from very early stage. But nobody seems to care to add responsibility into their lessons. Everyone wants to find out how to “sue” someone or how to put charges on “the other”. It is rare to find someone even talking about being responsible or taking responsibility on themselves. If the kids are growing up in this system with everything getting tagged as “normal” how do we expect them to suddenly change to be responsible adults?

Normal is very special word. In its essence it does not have any absolute value. It is a relative entity, which keeps on changing with time. We usually define normal, just as something which we observe more often or more percentage of people doing it in a given timeframe. Especially, in this context, isn’t it normal and natural to sleep at night and stay-up during the day time? I do not think that this “normal” has changed for thousands and millions of years, independent of the age of the person. It would have been a rare sight, even a mere 50-100 years ago, if a teenagers would have gone out at night, just because they are in that age. But, today we seems to be ok to say, it is “normal”. And to support that “normal” lifestyle of the kid, parents keep on working more. This lead to another “normal” and that is “working-long hours”. Should we accept the ” working-long-hours-to-meet-kids-normal-life” so that the kid stays out all night and sleep during the day? Or people then would like to go on strikes for higher salaries to support this new “normal” life of their family?

30% of Croatian youth smokes. Shall we just wait till 50 and tag it normal?

How do we build tolerance to certain kind of “normal” and other we don’t? e.g. If I say, the women in a given country wear “hijaab”, It is normal. But, one can see that it is somehow just not acceptable as “normal”. Now, somehow one style of “normal” must be forced upon on the other style of normal, why? If the context is “high percentage of kids smoke cigarettes. They consider it as normal part of their life”. Would it be the same normal as staying out all night with no responsibilities? If not, then why not? How would you explain a kid that it is ok to do everything in their life, but not just cigarettes? Especially, when the kids see that adults consider it as “normal” for themselves. The very reason why kids of smokers are highly likely to become smokers themselves. But, even with all kind of available data on smoking, harms and risks to people and kids and society in general, people have accepted it as “normal” to keep on smoking and unaccepted “normal” if kids are smoking. Ofcourse, we are adults and it is our “choice” to smoke or not and some of these kids with tag 18 on their ID cards are in the same bucket and can legally buy cigarettes from shops after using alternate means for some years.

Another way to link this “normal” is with capitalism. This is very simple today, as almost everything can be blamed on capitalism and politics. Ofcourse, people believe they are entities which run independent of people. People work for a company as a salesman, make sales for profit to improve their bonus. They meet friends for a drink and complain about how capitalism has ruined the world! I have heard excuses from parents also, “oh kids at their age has too much energy”, “They get bored at home”, “They need to go out and socialize”. Now, we complain about companies making long working hours. Complains about making people work at night. Kids are going out in bars/pubs/discos which are running at night. The same capitalism is running those places, which is running big corporates and international companies. The same capitalism, which is burning down the forests in Amazon, pushing people to work at sulfer, coal and iron mines. It is still the same capitalism, which is destroying the forest and putting rubber and palm plantations in Indonesia, Cambodia. It is the same capitalism, which we complain has created consumerism and enticing public to buy things and spend “their money”. Why don’t we think that kids are going out because “this evil capitalism” is enticing them to?

Kids are kids, we need to provide appropriate moulds for them to turn out to be some useful utensil. Do we put the clay outside and hope that rain and heat from sun or jungle fire would create something. Maybe somewhere in the world this is “normal” way to do pottery, but that is something I am not aware of. The clay needs to go through transformation with water, it needs to spin around and get moulded, it needs to go through heat to finally take a shape. This all is not possible without a person taking care of the clay. He needs to add right amount of water in it, mould it properly by providing the support when needed and pushing it when appropriate. He needs to take care that right amount of heat is provided at the right time. Only after all that effort does the pot is useful to hold water in it.

Unfortunately, today as adults we ourselves want to avoid that responsibility and effort. We are happy to give gadgets to kids, so that they do not bother us. We find it easy to give them some money to buy food outside, rather than involving them to make it and teach the value of it. We are fine smoking ourselves and expecting a miracle will ensure that kids won’t fall sick or pick up smoking. We ourselves, like to sit, drink and chat for hours and hoping that by sending kids for 2-3 hours of physical activity a week will keep them healthy, will keep them away from gadgets. Instead of engaging with kids, we seems to be ok to pay visits to doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists. Rather than focusing on diet and activity, we are happy to buy pills for kids and hoping it will keep them healthy. We cannot let go of our gadgets for 15 minutes and are expecting kids not to use it when they turn 18! All that as we think what we are doing is now “normal” and “we” do not need to do anything about it.

I hope that people come out of happy kitty videos. I hope that people start to read the article and its background before they share or like it. I hope that people just don’t just watch videos on exercise and self-help therapies rather act on any one of them. But, most of all I hope that people still keep on smiling and laughing as it is still more or less “normal”.

Keep Smiling

Love

Arundeep Singh

Mulla Nasrudin was talking to a friend about his recently broken romance. “Do you mean,” asked the friend, “that at her request, you gave up drinking, and smoking, and gambling, and dancing, and playing pool?” “Yes, just because she insisted,” said the Mulla. “Then why didn’t you marry her?” the fellow asked. “WELL, AFTER ALL THAT REFORMING,” said Nasrudin, “I DECIDED I COULD DO BETTER.”

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